eBay Spared the Gavel in Preliminary Court Opinion

Dan Whalen is a JD candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School

eBay Inc. is “not generally liable” for trademark infringement that occurs on its website, according to Advocate General Niilo Jaaskinen of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).  He did, however, contend that the online auction-house is liable once it becomes aware of any breach and for the content of data it communicates as an advertiser to a search engine operator. At the heart of the legal matter lies L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics manufacturer, and its claims of infringement through sales of goods on the eBay website. Jaaskinen proposed that the company be allowed to block sales of its goods marked “not for sale” and of any other unpackaged items that might damage or conceal the company’s brand. Both parties seem satisfied by the opinion, which will most likely be upheld by the ECJ. The ECJ’s judges are expected to make their ruling within the next few months.